The Club All-Star full back line consists of three of the best defensive players on show during the 2019 championship season. Ciaran Connolly takes the number two jersey following a great campaign that saw him make The Sideline Eye team of the week on two occasions while at full back is Collegeland’s defensive rock Pauric McGeary.
Grabbing the final spot in the full back line is Cullyhanna’s Sean Og Irwin. While Cullyhanna didn’t have the year they would have wanted, Irwin was constantly on form for his side. He earned a spot on The Sideline Eye team of the week after his performance against Dromintee while he also displayed his man marking abilities with a great performance against Maghery’s Aidan Forker in the championship quarter final.
Although his inclusion in the 2019 Club All-Star team will be of no surprise to anyone who witnessed the corner back in action this season, the award was totally unexpected for Irwin, who describes how an injury disrupted his year, “It is a bit of a surprise for me, considering the year I had”.
“I had a wee bit of a setback with an injury that I was carrying throughout the year. I tried to push through that and really get fit for championship season and it worked out well for me. Even though it wasn’t the ending we wanted, it was a tough loss against Maghery; I felt like I really stepped up and tried to help the team out as best I could”.
St Patrick’s will be happy to see the back of the 2019 season after the South Armagh side were relegated from Division 1A on the final day of the league before being knocked out of the championship at the quarter final stage and Irwin believes his side will have to learn from their mistakes this year if they are to bounce back in 2020.
“Well that’s the thing, we had a very disappointing league campaign and I felt like we really proved ourselves and proved that we still have it come championship even though we didn’t have the result we wanted. I felt we really put it up to Maghery and we were just unlucky with the last minute goal”.
“So going forward into next season I think there’s a lot we can take out from that. We’ve a few more boys coming up and hopefully some of the older players will stay on as well and we’ve that mix there so hopefully we can just keep going and just improve on the league season and build that into the championship”.
Irwin not only ends the 2019 season with a deserved Club All-Star award but has also been drafted into Kieran McGeeney’s Armagh panel for next season. The Cullyhanna man expressed how happy he is to be given the chance play in the orange and white and is relishing life as a county footballer.
Although it’s early days, Irwin knows how big of a step up it is from club to county level but is eager to prove his worth, “I’m enjoying it, it’s a big step up, a lot of commitment, a lot of hard work but I’m willing to work hard and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m ready to work hard and go for it this year with the county”.